Equine Performance and Abilities

Curiosity and Vigilance

Temperament is a complex trait influenced by multiple genetic and environmental factors. Individual components of temperament are potentially under different controls. Curiosity in the horse has been defined as an interest in novel objects and a willingness to approach them. Vigilance refers to the tendency of a horse to examine its surroundings. For this particular SNP, horses homozygous for the G allele (G/G) displayed both higher curiosity and lower vigilance scores, whereas horses with one or two A alleles (A/A and G/A) had lower curiosity and higher vigilance scores.


Research Confidence:                      

 Moderate confidence, findings replicated in multiple species


More about Temperament...



DMRT3 or "Gait"

Horses display a wide variation in locomotion, with “gaited” breeds displaying a range of unique footfall patterns at intermediate speeds. Even amongst the non-gaited (trotting) breeds, some individuals are capable of lateral movements. Also, while most horses will shift into the three beat canter at higher speeds, some horses are able to remain in their intermediate gaits (for example, harness racing breeds). The A/A genotype for this test is associated with the ability to remain in the intermediate gait at higher speeds.


Research Confidence:

High confidence, findings reproduced in multiple studies


More about the Gait gene...



Myostatin Insertion: The Speed Gene

Thoroughbred races are held at a variety of distances, with individual racehorses usually displaying a preference for a range. There is some suggestion that sprint horses (which compete at distances less than 6 furlongs, or 2/3rds of a mile) are more compact and muscular than horses that run at longer distances. This insertion has been associated with racing distance for winning Thoroughbreds at the top level of competition, with A/A horses excelling at distances of 8 furlongs or less and T/T horses found more in races of 9 furlongs or more. Horses with one copy of each allele won at all distances


Research Confidence:

High confidence, findings reproduced in multiple studies


More about the Speed gene...





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